After Jamaica’s Champs, The Rivalry Continues

There it was, to the world, the biggest and best high school track and field competition ever. It’s the Jamaica Inter-Secondary Schools Boys and Girls Championships dubbed Champs and held over five days at the National Stadium in the nation’s capital, Kingston.

The recent edition of the 106-year-old competition (March 15 to 19) was as intense as always; some races were won on the line, and field events rivals engaged in close battles for supremacy. The boys class 1 triple jump competition was a prime example of steely determination, in which the previous record was broken by one competitor and then broken again in only a few minutes by his teammate, the very next jumper. The defending champion and former record holder could manage only fourth place.

Calabar High’s 16-year-old Christopher Taylor, who has the world’s fastest time in the 400m for his age group, broke the 200m and 400m Champs records, ran the backstretch on the 4x100m team that won gold in record time and anchored their 4x400m team to victory in stunning fashion. On the girls side, Junelle Bromfield of St. Elizabeth Technical High School claimed a tally of three individual and one relay gold medals. Both these athletes’ performances will be long remembered.

Throughout the competition, a total of eleven records were broken and one equaled. By the end of day five, defending boys champions Calabar High School had worked their way to the top to regain the title by 37½ points, and defending girls champions Edwin Allen High School did the same by 66½ points.

Now that the dust has settled, the youngsters traveled to Grenada yesterday to compete against their peers in the Caribbean region at the 45th CARIFTA Games, which begin tomorrow, March 26, and runs through to the 28th.

CARIFTA will definitely bring together the best of Caribbean athletes as it has always done since 1972, decades before world beaters Usain Bolt and Kirani James came on the scene. Based on what went down in Kingston, last week, several Games records are expected to be broken. And when CARIFTA is finished, the stage will be set for the next stop: the Penn Relays, the world’s largest and oldest relay carnival, at the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field in Philadelphia the last weekend in April. This is where all age groups, from as young as elementary school age (even those who have special needs) to sprinters in their 90s and over, will demonstrate their speed and stamina.

Many high school athletes will be tagged with offers for a place among colleges that are track and field powerhouses in the United States or other local colleges or clubs. Such prospects could serve as a spring board to a lucrative professional career within two years or so.

The feature attraction at Penns remains the USA vs The World segment that begins early afternoon on the final day. The excitement will reach fever pitch as US elite athletes turn out to defend their honor against rival countries, mainly Jamaica, on their turf. This is an Olympic year, and many professional athletes who will be vie for a spot on their national teams will be competing in their first outdoor competition of the year. Several relay squads from other countries also use the Carnival to to attain qualifying times for the Olympics and World Championships.

With that in mind, fasten your seat belts as the Penn Relays 2016 give a mouthwatering preview of things to come.

2016 Champs Records

Eleven re records were broken, one equaled and another broken twice, minutes apart.
1. Christopher Taylor ran 46.33 in the heats to erase JC’s Devaughn Baker’s 46.64 set in 2014.
2. Taylor broke 200m record with 20.80. The previous record was 20.89 by Ramone McKenzie.
3. Calabar’s squad of Tyreke Wilson, Taylor, Michael Stephens, and Dejour Russell ran 40.29secs to smash the 2013 Class Two 4×1 relay record of 40.54.
4. JC’s Obrien Wasome leaped a distance of 16.39 meters to break the Class One boys triple jump record of 16.10 set a few minutes before in the same competition by teammate Javier Lowe.
5. St. Jago’s Keenan “Smooth” Traveler” Lawrence registered 3 mins, 57.28 secs to erase Kemoy Campbell’s 3:58.06 set nine years ago.
6. St, Jago’s Thaleetio Green won the 2000 meters steeple chase open in 5:53.14, which erased Obrian Frith’s 2014 record of 5:59.70.
7. Petersfield’s Daniel Cope threw 53.41 meters in the preliminaries of the Class Two boys discus to better Kino Dunkley’s 2013 mark of 52.09.
8. St. Jago’s Kimone Shaw won the Class Two girls 100m final in 11.40 secs (0.8 w) to delete Jura Levy’s 11.46 record set in 2008.
9. Shanice Love of Excelsior High threw 52.73 meters in the Class One discuss final, which beats Tara Sue’s Barnett’s 2013 mark of 51.16.
10. Janell Fullerton of St. Jago (formerly of Edwin Allen) threw 14.46 to win class one shot put to erase 14.27 by Ayesha Champagnie.
11. Vere Technical’s Britany Anderson clocked 11.10secs over the Class Three 80m hurdles to remove Rushelle Burton’s 2013 record of 11.13.
12. Calabar’s Dejour Russell did 13.45 (-3.2 w) to equal Michael O’Hara mark set in 2013.